Use Your Brand to Motivate Your Staff

"No matter how good or successful or clever you are, your business is in the hands of the people you hire". Lord Seiff (Former President) Marks & Spencer PLC

A recent IoD Business Opinion Survey highlighted that underperformance is the key issue facing Directors today. This probably explains why we are often asked to help organisations understand the role brand plays in motivating a team’s performance...

Winning businesses are made up of winning teams. These are groups of individuals united by:

  • Having a unified sense of purpose
  • Being inspired
  • Doing the right thing

‘Having’ a unified sense of purpose – Experience suggests that unless new initiatives are aligned with the team brand they will tend to face resistance.

Winning teams have a clear sense of shared purpose and vision. Each individual member of the team feels included in delivering the vision. They know that to succeed they must first ‘have’ performance measures in place. These help to drive momentum and keep the team focused on winning together.

Professor Cary Cooper once said; “People need to feel some sort of ownership of their own destiny for a leader to influence their attitudes and behaviour”

In his campaign, Obama delegated and refused to micromanage. Under the slogan “Respect. Empower. Include”, he used social networking to mobilise thousands of volunteers and motivated them by letting them get on with it – driven by a shared vision of a new way and the confidence that “yes, we can.”

‘Being’ inspired – For teams to win they must first be inspired by a winning idea. We refer to this as the team brand. This is usually based on the core business brand while acknowledging the specific purpose and vision of the individual team.

Too often the brand is seen as some sort of manual, used to guide the way we should behave as a team. But using the brand values as a set of standards to guide us in this way is missing the point. Winning teams will only be empowered to win if they have together become inspired by the power of the brand ‘idea’ first.

Employees need to be allowed to feel involved, responsible and engaged because managing the brand should not solely be the responsibility of the marketing department. If the brand is an idea, then a winning team is one that is inspired to value this idea very highly. After all, if the team does not buy into the brand it is unlikely the customers will.

‘Doing’ the right thing – One winning team that comes to mind explained the secret of its success to us in the following way; "we operate with a simple brand idea; to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves".

The company is a people business and therefore each member of the team understands the importance of respect and the role they each play in delivering this team brand idea. By creating a culture that benefits “others” they have each helped to ensure the success of the business. The team is very motivated because, in doing the right thing, the culture serves them with respect and is successful. In this way they also know that every member of the team gets to share in that success.

Mark Wing, is a member of Winning Teams and is a Brand Strategy Consultant and Founder of Marques of Excellence

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